Brazil’s Supreme Follows the Money and Condemns Lula’s Top Aide for Corruption

Rapporteur Joaquim Barbosa Brazil’s Supreme Court continued the trial of Penal Case 470, the mensalão, second part of chapter six: active corruption (that is, bribery) by leaders in the PT, along with officials in ad agencies and banks. The bribes were allegedly paid to members of Congress in 2003-2004 so they would vote with the government.

Allegedly no more. After yesterday’s session, there are now six votes to condemn eight out of the ten defendants charged with active corruption in the second part of chapter six – clear evidence that a majority of the court is convinced the vote-buying scheme existed.

Last week, the justice rapporteur, Joaquim Barbosa, the justice-auditor, Ricardo Lewandowski, along with justices Rosa Weber and Luiz Fux, voted. Yesterday, justices José Dias Toffoli, Carmen Lúcia, Gilmar Mendes and Marco Aurélio Mello voted.

The scorecard at the moment (morning, October 10) in the second part of chapter six (only a small piece of this unwieldy, complicated case where 36 defendants are charged with multiple counts of seven different crimes) is as follows:

1) José Dirceu, the former presidential Chief of Staff (“ministro-chefe da Casa Civil”) guilty 6 to 2.

2) José Genoíno, former president of the PT, guilty 7 to 1.

3) Delúbio Soares, former PT treasurer, guilty 8 to 0.

4) Anderson Adauto, former minister of Transportation, not guilty 8 to 0.

5) Marcos Valério, head of ad agency, guilty 8 to 0

6) Ramon Hollerbach, partner in ad agency, guilty 8 to 0

7) Cristiano Paz, partner in ad agency, guilty 8 to 0

8) Rogério Tolentino, ad agency lawyer, guilty 6 to 2.

9) Simone Vasconcelos, bank director, guilty 8 to 0

10) Geiza Dias, manager at ad agency, not guilty 7 to 1

This afternoon, October 10, the final votes on the second part of chapter six, by justice Celso Mello and the Chief Justice, Carlos Ayres Britto, should be concluded.

After fourth justice votes, the score is 3 to 1 for conviction of former PT leaders

Last week the Brazilian Supreme Court began judging the second part of the sixth chapter of Penal Case 470, the mensalão, in which a total of ten defendants are charged with active corruption and other crimes (in the first part of this chapter, thirteen defendants were charged with passive corruption and other crimes).

The importance of chapter six is that it encompasses the heart of the crime; that is, vote buying in Congress or, in plain English, bribery. Consequently, many of the defendants are politicians (at the time the mensalão scandal became public in 2005, three of the accused were ministers and eleven were federal deputies).

Leading the court along a path laid out by federal prosecutors, the justice-rapporteur, Joaquim Barbosa, has been following the money up to this point. But in the sixth chapter of Penal Case 470, the money reaches its destination.

According to Barbosa, the people who facilitated the flow of the money into Congress are guilty of active corruption and those people were PT leaders, along with others in advertising agencies and banks.

In the end, Barbosa condemned eight out of the ten accused and his votes were followed by justices Rosa Weber and Luiz Fux. As a result, at the end of the session on Thursday, October 4, there were 3 votes for condemnation of the former presidential Chief of Staff (“Casa Civil”) and PT deputy representing São Paulo, José Dirceu; the former president of the PT, José Genoíno and the ad agency lawyer, Roberto Tolentino.

There were four votes to condemn the former PT treasurer, Delúbio Soares; the admen Marcos Valério, Ramon Hollerbach and Cristiano Paz; along with Simone Vasconcelos, a director at a bank.

The only votes cast contrary to Barbosa, Weber and Fux so far in chapter six were by the justice-auditor, Ricardo Lewandowski. He voted to absolve José Dirceu and José Genoíno, along with the lawyer, Roberto Tolentino.

Finally, all four justices who had voted by then absolved the former minister of Transportation, Anderson Adauto, and Geiza Dias, an employee at one of the ad agencies.

ABr

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